Back last summer, in June, a bright, vibrant mural appeared on the side of The Local Distro in Salemtown, facing onto their outdoor dining area. It was the product of many hands, a true community mural put together by a number of artists, nonprofits, and the children of the neighborhood. (According to the Tennessean, many came from the nearby Chetham Place housing community.)
(I have been having technical trouble with featured photos. If you don’t see the full mural at the top of the post, scroll down to the bottom.)
Leading the project was the artist Omari Booker, who just happens to be a graduate of Tennessee State University’s Art Department (being a TSU History prof, I’m more than happy to point to the success of a TSU grad). Other artists were involved, including Lee Ann Love, Devone Marie, and Dough Joe. But as a community project, the mural also is the product of local youth, brought together by My Canvas Youth Arts (which was co-founded by Love). Family and Children’s Services also helped sponsor the project.
Booker and thirty-four youth artists worked with art therapist Devon Billions-Gomez of Inspritus, a social services non-profit, to develop the themes for the mural. The ideas they developed focus on many prominent current issues, such as police brutality and the work of Black Lives Matter. The tornado represents the March 2020 storm that devastated much of North and East Nashville. The mural was officially unveiled on June 13, 2021.
Booker is no stranger to this kind of work. He participated in the “We Are Seeds” community mural in 2019, which was also a youth collaboration, and he recently collaborated on a piece at the Oasis Center that I will feature later.
I almost made the mistake of saying this mural was in Germantown, but the blocks bordered by Rosa Parks Boulevard, Hume Street, 3rd Ave North, and the interstate are Salmentown, a neighborhood chopped up badly when the interstate was built.
Located at 614 Garfield Street, at the corner with 7th Ave North. The mural faces 7th. Street parking is available on 7th, and if you are a patron of the Local Distro, behind their building.